A slogan to cheer up Italy in the fight against the novel coronavirus is written on the back of the protective clothing of a Chinese medical expert. (Photo courtesy of Zhou Hua, associate chief physician of respiratory disease department of the First Affiliated Hospital of the School of Medicine with Zhejiang University, who is also a member of the Chinese medical team dispatched to Italy to help the COVID-19 control efforts there.)
China is willing to work with Italy to contribute to international cooperation in combating the epidemic and to the construction of a Health Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 16.
President Xi’s remarks injected confidence in the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and facilitated global coordination and cooperation in this respect.
China and Italy have well explained the connotation of building a Health Silk Road with concrete actions. When China was hit hard by coronavirus, the Italian government donated preventative and protective materials to China. The Palazzo del Quirinale held a special concert and livestreamed it through the country’s national TV station, to express the support and goodwill of the Italian people toward China’s virus prevention efforts.
Currently, the virus is spreading rapidly in Italy. The Chinese government, and governments at various levels have provided medical and material supplies for Italy, and a third batch of medical experts will soon go to Italy for assistance.
China’s donations sent a signal of solidarity and friendship to Italy, which the country will never forget, said Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy who also served as President of the European Commission. He hopes people around the world can understand that they share the same future.
The joint construction of a Health Silk Road has expanded the space for cooperation on co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Chinese medical experts dispatched to Cambodia to help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, together with Chinese donation of medical supplies, March 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Chinese medical experts dispatched to Cambodia)
China welcomes the WHO to jointly establish the "health Silk Road", President Xi said during a meeting with the then WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 2017.
Chan echoed President Xi"s remarks, saying that the WHO is willing to enhance cooperation with China under the framework of the BRI and appreciates China’s leadership and capability in safeguarding global health security and global health governance.
As the first G7 power to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China to join the BRI, Italy shares a sound foundation for cooperation with China over BRI construction. The two countries have written a touching story of co-building of the Health Silk Road through battling against the COVID-19 pneumonia together.
To jointly build the Health Silk Road serves as a new approach for perfecting global public health governance. The practice of fighting against the COVID-19 pneumonia has once again proved that isolation does nothing good and it’s impossible for any country to fight the virus alone. To win the battle, countries must uphold solidarity and cooperation, be future-oriented, and improve global health governance.
China has attached high attention to international collaboration since the outbreak of the epidemic. The country has informed relevant parties of the epidemic information with openness, transparency and a sense of responsibility, and maintained close cooperation with the WHO and relevant countries.
China supports the United Nations (UN) and the WHO to mobilize the international society to strengthen policy coordination and increase input of resources, particularly help developing countries with weak public health systems take precautions and respond to the epidemic.
The country has given $20 million to the WHO for COVID-19 efforts, which will be used to assist developing countries better cope with the epidemic and build a stronger public health system. In addition, China has announced to offer help to 82 countries, the WHO, and the African Union, and delivered assisting materials to relevant recipient countries and organizations.
The series of actions have manifested China’s sense of responsibility in uniting all countries to fight against the epidemic and protecting the common destiny of humanity.
The global consequences of the COVID-19 pneumonia are far-reaching. While facing the challenges, people also need to focus on the current problems and think about the future of global health.
In a recent message of sympathy to French President Emmanuel Macron, President Xi proposed the building of a community of common health for mankind, which is an important initiative that concerns the future of mankind.
President Xi said China is willing to make concerted efforts with France to enhance international cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, support the UN and the WHO playing a core role in improving global public health governance, and build a community of common health for mankind.
From proposing a Health Silk Road and to the building of a community of common health for mankind, China stands ready to work together with all global partners to propel the perfecting of global public health governance and improve medical and health care of the world.
The epidemic is still spreading globally. Countries must make the right choice, enhance unity and take actions according to the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, so as to protect the lives of all mankind.